Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – All You Need to Know

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, is a mandatory requirement at every workplace to ensure safe work practices as stated by OSHA and other such health administrations from around the World. PPEs include apparel, gloves, helmets, and all other accessories that can keep workers safe from the hazards present at any workplace. Different PPEs are needed for different tasks, but they all have one single job: to prevent employees from injuries. 

These injuries present themselves in many forms, from minor to major i.e. cuts, abrasions, burns, etc. that are either caused by chemicals, sharp objects, radiations, and electrical, mechanical, or other reasons. 

All the PPE that’s used by a workplace should be professionally designed, manufactured, and tested to make sure it’s safe for use and is comfortable for the workers to wear and utilize. In this blog, we’ve discussed a few of the basics about industrial safety products, starting with a few important stats gathered through surveys of different workplaces.

Important Stats About Industrial Safety Products

  • 98% of employees report they’ve seen workers not wearing PPE when it was absolutely required. The following excuses are frequently made for lack of PPE use. 
    • It’s hot 
    • It’s unattractive 
    • It’s hard to access
    • It fits poorly 
  • 25% of workplace injuries include hands and fingers, while 9% involve the head. 
  • 5% of workers suffer from eye injuries, while 25% are exposed to noises that are up to or above the recommended limitation levels. 

According to reports, almost all these injuries become preventable by 60% – 90% just by the use of proper PPE. But there need to be appropriate measures to make employees use them, and punishments for those who become careless with their protective equipment usage. 

Types of Personal Protective Equipment

1. Hands and Arms 

1. Hazards 

Cuts, abrasions, temperature variations, punctures, impact, burns, electric shock, etc. 

b. Measures 

  • Leather gloves that are made of the right kind of material that deals with the appropriate injuries e.g. shockproof gloves for electric hazards, Kevlar gloves for burns, etc. 
  • Remember not to use gloves if there’s a risk of the gloves getting caught in the machinery. Or use the gloves meant to operate machinery. 

2. Eyes

a. Hazards 

  • Gas, vapor, radiation, chemical splash, etc.

b. Measures 

  • Goggles, safety spectacles, facial screens, shields, etc. 
  • Please ensure the eye-protective equipment being used is appropriate to protect against the hazards involved in the task being performed. 

3. Feet 

a. Hazards

  • Water, varying temperatures, electrostatic build-up, cuts and punctures, vehicles, chemical splash, etc. 

b. Measures

  • Safety boots, chainsaw boots, boots with protective toecaps, penetration-resistant shoes, etc.
  • The soles of every shoe type vary depending on the conditions where a worker is involved e.g. chemicals, oil, water, etc. all these conditions have different shoe types and soles. 

4. Head 

a. Hazards

  • Impact from falling objects, chemical splash, risk of head bumps, risk of hair getting stuck in machinery, etc.

b. Measures

  • Industrial safety helmets, hairnets, bump caps, etc.
  • Also remember to keep your neck protected. 

5. Ears 

a. Hazards 

  • Noise levels exceeding the required limitations.

b. Measures

  • Earmuffs, earplugs, canal caps, etc.
  • Make sure to use the right ear protectors for the appropriate task workers are about to do.

6. Whole Body

a. Hazards

  • Contracting with contaminated objects, chemical splash, electrical shock, impact or penetration, etc.

b. Measures

  • Flame-retardant apparel, welding apparel, assembly line PPE, etc.
  • Remember to use the right apparel during the right time. 

Selection and Use

There are a few questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to selecting the PPE and providing it to workers. They are: 

  • What is the nature of the task the worker is about to perform? 
  • What hazards will it entail?
  • Which material and type of PPE do they need based on those hazards?

When it comes to usage, you need to check whether the protective equipment is appropriate and whether workers know how to use it or not. 

  • Make sure you’re investing in industrial safety products that have been manufactured and tested several times, making them appropriate and safe for use. 
  • If workers need to use more than one PPE at a time, you need to ensure their use together won’t compromise their effectiveness. 
  • Train all the workers in the importance and use of proper protective equipment. 

Benefits of PPE at the Workplace

1. Eyes

Safety glasses and goggles protect the eyes from chemical splashes, radiations, and other dangerous hazards that can either injure someone’s sight or disable them altogether. All the eye safety equipment can be designed on a prescription basis if someone with weak eyesight needs to get them customized. 

2. Hands

Leather gloves and other forms of arm and hand safety equipment protect workers’ hands from cuts, burns, abrasions, impact, etc. that can injure the worker and cause them to lose important work hours or even their job. 

3. Feet

PPE for your legs and feet usually involves boots that protect you from slipping on liquid material e.g. oils, water, etc., and even provide safety against electrostatic spaces. 

4. Ears

Ear protection saves workers from losing their hearing when they’re exposed to noisy environments that exceed the regular hearing limit i.e. 85 decibels. 

5. Head

Wearing helmets and other kinds of head PPE can save workers from concussions when a heavy object falls, and in some situations, electrical shock. 

Important Tips

  • It’s important to maintain and store PPE safely when it’s not in use, in order to ensure its durability and effectiveness.
  • You never know when equipment will become damaged due to the nature of your work, hence you need to have alternatives stored for emergency use. 
  • One of the most important things you need to note is that PPE should always be used as a last resort when every other control has failed, and you absolutely need protective equipment for your safety because if you’re dependent on PPE too much, you can easily lose your ability to make decisions for your safety on your own. 

This was a detailed guide to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the kinds of PPEs you need when working in high-risk environments like factories, construction sites, or other such places. Industry safety products are a necessity for every worker, but it’s also important to train workers in the use of factory equipment and teach them how to keep themselves safe and only utilize PPE as a last resort in the process of their safety. If you want to learn more about these things, you can check Elite-Leather Creations for details. 

Kamil Riaz Kara is a content contributor at Mainstream and associated with digital marketing since 2015. Presently working at Digital Eggheads, a digital marketing agency in Pakistan.